Symbols don't advocate anything at all. People do. Some people may interpret a symbol a given way, but that's 100% subjective. If enough people decide that a symbol means X, then to them, it means X. Period.
If that were true, there wouldn't be such an uproar of kneeling during the National Anthem.
If it was *not* true, no one would be kneeling during the National Anthem in the first place.
They're doing it precisely because their subjective view of the meaning of the US flag, and the symbolism of saluting it, is different than that of other people. The uproar occurs when two very different subjective views meet. Very much like when someone flies a VBF on his front porch, viewing its symbolism in one way, while others view it in a very different way.
Excellent job finding an example supporting my point though!
To be fair, I would bet most people, for or against, had no clue that certain statues even existed, let alone who they symbolized.
Yeah. Sadly, the whole "I'm upset because someone on my TV told me I'm supposed to be" is far more common that it should be. Crowds of angry people cheering the destruction of a hateful symbol, when most of them probably don't know what that statue is, who it is, or why it was erected in the first place, is just plain sad (hence my earlier point about the Stonewall Jackson plague being removed).
There are not "a lot" black folk who proudly fly that flag.
Depends on your definition of "a lot". And also, the effect of the much increased assumptive statements about said meaning of the VBF over the last couple decades. You tell black folks that it's a symbol of racism, then tell them more loudly, get groups like the NAACP to condemn it, argue that anyone flying it is a racist, etc, and, as you might imagine, the number of black people flying it in any form will decrease significantly.
I guess what's strange is that I'd bet that the percentage of black people in the south who proudly flew that flag back in the 70s was higher (much higher) than it is today. So, despite the prevailing narrative that the resurgence of the flag back in the 60s was a counter response
to the civil rights movement, and was clearly understood at the time to be a symbol of racism, support for segregation, etc, the perception that this is the case among the general public (and especially in the south) has moved steadily in the other direction.
Southern bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd used the symbol frequently. They very clearly did use it in "response" to the civil rights movement, but it's meaning was specifically to people (especially northerners) believing (or claiming) that all white southerners were racists. It was very clearly (at least to them) a symbol of southern pride that had nothing at all to do with racism, and a lot more to do with "yeah, we've got our problems, but that doesn't define us all".
At the time, most people understood this. So this is not a case of "everyone knew it was racist" or even "no one's disputing this! (Joph)", and we've somehow forgotten this, or it's "real meaning" has been lost. Quite the opposite. It's real meaning was not what people today are claiming it was. We're seeing retroactive re-writing of history going on, right in front of our eyes.
And yes, before anyone goes there: The fact that actual racists (southern or not) have adopted the symbol as one of racism at about the same rate at which non-racists have also labeled it as racist (and enough people forgotten it's "true meaning" that they accept this as truth), is not really surprising. In the same way that if you tell black people for several decades in a row that it's a symbol of racism, they'll back away from it, if you tell racists that it's a symbol of racism, they'll start using it.
That's kinda how symbols work. Again, the meaning is subjective. And yeah, I'm not even arguing that in today's society, where so many people do assume that flag is a symbol of racism, slavery, and segregation, that this doesn't in itself create weight and meaning to society as a whole which must be responded to in some way. What I am trying to do is point out that this "meaning" is wholly artificial, and basically has been created over time by those seeking to enhance the perception of broad sweeping (institutionalized even!) racism in this country.
If you can't find enough actual racists, or racially biased actions, latch onto a symbol and call it racists. Then call anyone who uses it racist. And look! There's now a really large number of racists in this country. No one can dispute this, right? And the poor folks, for whom that symbol has no racist meaning at all are stuck there, trying to defend it, but accomplishing nothing at all except to be branded as racists themselves. With their only option to abandon the symbol entirely.
For me, it's not about this specific symbol, but about the process itself. What are we really accomplishing here? I think I pointed out earlier that you could do the same thing with *any* symbol, if you really want to, and if you have enough influence or control over the media and education institutions (which the modern Left absolutely does). I think I've also pointed out that the US flag is flown at white nationalist rallys at a higher rate than the VBF. Does that become a symbol of hate and racism now too? Heck, at the risk of bringing this full circle, isn't that belief more or less exactly why some refuse to salute said flag during the national anthem?
So in 20-40 years, after all those who refuse to salute have been joined by the Left in condemning the US flag and what it "really" stands for, will we also find ourselves in the situation where anyone who continues to defend its use, or salutes it, etc, will be labeled as a hater, racist, defender of a horrible system and government? If you think this is absurd, I think you are naive. We're already moving in that direction now. The question really is: Do we wake up from this silliness at some point? Or do we just keep following it down the rabbit hole and see where it leads?